Friday, December 30, 2011

What I Learned In 2011: A Year In Review

2011 was an interesting year full of realizations and turning points for me, and for the first time I found myself with more good times than bad. Mostly, I learned so much about myself, the people in my circle and the world in general in these 12 short months. Like:

  • It is possible to eat real food and still maintain great health.
  • You don't have to beat your body to a pulp to be fit.
  • No matter how 'independent' a child appears to be, they all need plenty and constant supervision and guidance.
  • I don't need alcohol to have a good time.
  • Makeup is not the devil's tool.
  • Hot irons, however, are from Hades.
  • My self-esteem does not rely upon how many men have seen me naked.
  • A clean kitchen can make all the difference.
  • Ex-boyfriends are ex-boyfriends for a reason.
  • Helping others feels great.
  • No one is looking at what I do more than me.
  • Somewhere out there is a home for each and every story I have to tell.
  • My grandfather has swagger for days. Just swag on swag on swag.
  • Everyone needs a break from everything once in a while.
  • Too many folks are wholeheartedly invested in the lives of reality TV stars.
  • I can control how long or short my attention span is. Without pills.
  • My body IS my temple.
  • The idea of a husband and a home is not all that scary.
  • Writing is how I will live forever.
  • Soca LIFE.

From all of us here at The Jaded Empire, have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

*smooches...looking forward to new lessons in 2012*
y'all party safe, okay? use the buddy system and most importantly remember that alcohol poisoning is REAL.
Shout out to Jose Vilson for the blog post idea.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Freedom To Choose Means Freedom To Choose

Many women have come before me, fighting the good fight against all odds to ensure that I'd have equal rights in this country and beyond. We're not 100% there but we're definitely a long way from where we were. Women head corporations, small businesses, adopt children and own property, all without having their dads, husbands or brothers cosign or vouch for them. Hillary Clinton even came close to getting the Democratic National Committee to select her as their candidate for president of the United States.

I applaud all the women that were harassed, terrorized, jailed, spat on, abused or humiliated so that I, and my daughters, could have a fair shot at a good life, free of prejudice. I'm definitely grateful.

But with that freedom, some of us women (and men) have forgotten that what was really being fought for was to not be seen as a second-class citizen. To have the power to choose our paths to happiness. And that everyone's happiness does not look the same.

I recently read a blog post by Quiana Stokes entitled "How To Survive As A Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend" where she proceeded to describe how she keeps her and her boyfriend's home tidy, prepares his meals and makes herself available to him sexually whenever he wants. It was nothing shocking- a lot of Stay-At-Home-Moms do pretty much a lot of that stuff, too, with the noted difference of a marriage license and one or two rugrats traipsing about. However the people in the comments, as internet folks are wont to do, trashed this woman, and blamed her for setting women back hundreds of years. It all made me sigh heavily.

Listen, suffragettes and feminists battled for our right to be whomever we wanted to be. If what the author is choosing is to be the woman behind the man then let her be! She's not setting anyone back by choosing this path of happiness. She's just exercising her freedom to choose. The Equal Rights Movement wasn't about making us all CEOs and Presidents and Boss Hogs, it was about opening the doors to that life for- are you ready? THOSE WHO WANT IT.

It's not fair to force your ideology on others because they're not doing what YOU would do. If she's happy being this guy's live-in girlfriend then let her! Have a tall glass of Shut The Fuck Up and let her enjoy her choices! I'd hate to think that anyone would talk sideways about me if I decided to be a housewife one day. What business is it of anyone?

It's not illegal to bypass a corporate life or to forgo being Super Independent Feminist. It's not the life everyone dreams of. It's just one of the many choices we're lucky to have. All the Judgy McJudgertons need to sit all the way down and get their life. Quiana Stokes already got hers.

*smooches...wishing I had a Quiana in my life*
I'd love to come home to a clean house and a hot meal, shooo! y'all just jealous of her stee-lo!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tantrums Work

You might recall a recent rant where I questioned why I was wasting my time writing stories no one would ever publish. It was a full-on pity party and I was ready to not only chuck my career but my new health-conscious lifestyle, too. Just an all-out downward spiral because of back-to-back rejection letters.

Well, guess what? GUESS! YOU'LL NEVER GUESS!!

Blue Lake Review is publishing one of MY stories in their April 2012 edition!!! It's a young, online journal but definitely the start of my published career, no?

This is so exciting for me AND my story because it's one of my favorites from my MFA Thesis. I won't tell you what it's about or anything- you'll have to wait for April- but just know this: throwing hissy-fits and cursing out the Universe makes a difference!!

* a soon-to-be published author*
just be forewarned: my head is humongous right now. if I see you on the street and look down my nose at your peon-ness, you'll know why!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shit Mami Says

While looking at my cousin's FB page...

MAMI: Look at him; he looks gay

K: Maybe he's metrosexual

MAMI: That means 'gay'

*smooches...still laughing at this entire exchange*
once Mami turned 50, the things she's let loose from her lips...SMH

Monday, December 26, 2011

Noche Buena, Just Us Gals

Grandma must be happy. We were all there, in my kitchen/living room, eating talking laughing dancing and posing mid-chew:

We called Papi during the night, to say Merry Christmas, and it's not the same as having him here but it was still nice.

I didn't make rice, but my food was plentiful and tasty. And then we topped it off with some:

Honestly, this Christmas couldn't have been any better.

I love my family...they ROCK!

*smooches...just for my Ortiz ladies today*
did I mention these leftovers are just...

Friday, December 23, 2011

She Learned It By Watching Me

ME: So you had a good day?

N: Yup!

ME: You didn't have to punch anybody in the face?

N: Nope. [short pause] Wait- or did I?

*smooches...waiting for my Mother Of The Year award*
it's on the way, right? because no one did a better job on the babies than me this year. again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I Could Have Been Doing With My Life Besides Writing

Yes, this post is my whiny, baby-faced tantrum about yet ANOTHER rejection letter from a literary journal. This time Mixed Fruit Magazine decided my story was too shitty to grace the pages of their book and I really have to wonder- what's the freaking point? When I think of all the other paths I could have chosen instead of this fickle artist's life, I get so mad at myself!

I could be at the EPA right now, earning six-figures, shittin' on all you hos.

I could be putting mine and Slash's babies to bed right now. That's right- after years of being a BAND AID for GNR he & I would have gotten married. Shut up!

I could be living off the grid in Sicily, tending to an orange grove and having wine with breakfast.

I could be running a dance studio in Soho after a small stint as a video music ho.

I could be in Cuba enjoying the fruits of my labor as the revolutionary who ousted Castro.

So many other options. But NOOOOOOOO. I let writing lure me into this life of frustration, poverty and disappointment. What the hell was I thinking?

I should have listened to my mother.

*no smooches today*
just...just...just whatever, man...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Jaded Moment In History Presents: The Summer of 1994

I did not have a successful freshman year of college at AU- I was dead broke, had poor study habits and did not take my assignments seriously. Oh, I had a grand ol' time with my friends and whatnot, but scholastically my first year at school was a bust. So much so that I flunked out and had to appeal my case to get back in. Just SHAMEFUL. But once I got everything under control at school, I eased into the last, super-fun summer of my life.

We lived in Hamburg, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, in an apartment complex with a swimming pool in the courtyard. HOLLA! I got a job working the closing shift at our local McDonald's (7PM to sometimes 3AM) which left me with more than enough time to chill by the pool daily. And chill I did! My schedule was all:

Get to work by 6:50PM. Prep my station (usually the drive-thru window) and work it til closing. After closing, clean the shit out of that place, including bathrooms, refreshing the fry grease and scrubbing down the grills. Let me tell you- the food may be nasty at McDonald's but at the Hamburg location, while I was working there, we kept that place clean as a whistle. No nook was overlooked. Believe that!

Get home between two and three in the morning, eat dinner. Yes, dinner. My stepdad would usually leave me a plate on the stove or in the microwave for "dinner" and I'd devour that while watching MTV until maybe 5:00 or 6:00 AM.

Sleep until noon-ish. Ahhh, the good life.

Wake up and order pizza and wings for me and Mari from Blasdell Pizza in time for "Days of Our Lives" at 1PM. Watch "Days" covered in wing sauce and blue cheese. Rest into the itis.

Eventually go to the pool and work off some of the pizza and wings. Stay until almost 4:00 or 5:00 PM and then head back to shower and change for work.


If I had a time machine, I'd absolutely set it for May, 1994 and never look back.

*smooches...reliving a slice of heavenly past*
it was all downhill from there, man SMH!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm Looking Forward To...

...that last hunk of fat disappearing off my body; moving into the next level of my yoga practice; conquering the Manhattan Bridge.

...the next season of "Weeds" because OMG WHOM DID THAT SNIPER SHOOT? first published story; my novel winning a Pulitzer Prize in fiction; earning a "Best Original Screenplay" Oscar.

...seeing which parent Jay and Beyonce's baby will resemble. I know I'm not the only one scared for that gene pool! 37th birthday, be it a milestone or not, because Mari and I have already started planning it and it will be AWESOME.

...paying off my AU Perkins Loan. May cannot get here soon enough!! baby's college acceptance letters; helping her shop for her dorm room furnishings and fixings; making her yummy care packages.

...the events I'm planning that will help launch my Jaded Empire.

...perfecting healthier recipes for my favorite Dominican dishes & desserts, so I'll never regret my food choices again.

...a first date; that goodnight kiss; knowing that it's real.

*smooches...wishing on a Jaded star*
what's on your wish list? not that I can make any of them come true. I mean, I might...if you have the cash and don't mind a little goat's blood on your hands...

Monday, December 19, 2011

That Thing I Was Looking For That I Didn't Know Was Missing

It's become my (bad) habit now to indulge in a TV series marathon on weekends when the girls are away with their dad. And lately I've been a bit obsessed with ABC Family shows- "Switched At Birth," "The Lying Game," "Melissa & Joey" and now, "Make It or Break It."

While watching the first season of "Make It or Break It" (starring Candice Cameron Bure AKA DJ Tanner of "Full House") there was a scene where Bure was trying to talk some sense into the resident mean girl, Lauren, about her hyper-sexed behavior and attitude. And if you watch shows on ABC Family you know that a lot of them have an underlying, wholesome message which, for some reason, has really been appealing to me lately. I mean, I'm still watching my "Dexter" and cannot wait for "Weeds" to come back but overall, I've pretty much replaced porn with ABC Family shows and movies.

But anyway, this scene with Bure's character, Summer, and Lauren really spoke to me. I was only half paying attention to it while writing out Christmas cards (YES I know I'm late. SHUSH!) but when I heard the dialogue I stopped to pay attention. Summer was explaining to Lauren how she was once promiscuous and how it backfired on her. In short, Summer tells Lauren:

"I was just a little girl, looking for attention...once I gave myself away I lost something so important that would take me years to get self-respect."

And I'm a big enough thug to admit that made me teary, because she could have been speaking to me. This weekend I had a diner chat with two acquaintances where I mentioned my recent celibacy and how, although there were a few rough patches, I don't even think about anymore. When I first decided to abstain from sex it was in retaliation of another failed fling. Then after a few months it was because I felt fat and unsexy and wanted to lose weight. But in the summer it became so much more, something that I hadn't even realized I was aiming for, something that was brought home when I had dinner with Alex over Thanksgiving weekend.

After my divorce I was a big old whore. I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. If he had a penis and a heartbeat, I most likely fucked him. Looks and marital status hardly mattered. But I'd gone from living in my mother's house to living in my then-husband's house and never really had a period in my life where I could "wild out," so when C and I split I wilded out. Not that it's an excuse, I'm just laying out my frame of mind at the time. I sought all the wrong kind of attention. I placed tiny band-aids over gaping gunshot wounds by using sex to cure my unhappiness and loneliness.

Now, however, now I protect this newly-earned chastity ferociously. I take offense to any threat to my abstinence- real or imagined- very seriously. I have some anxiety about dating again, knowing that celibacy is not a popular ideal these days, and the old, attention-seeking Raquel chimes in with "just have sex already and get it over with." But there's something to be said about loving myself enough to shut that old whore down and taking some pride in my virtue. All because I watched a teen drama on ABC Family.

And as a bonus, I already know that come this spring when I have my next OB/GYN appointment, my tests will come up squeaky clean.

*smooches...looking forward to an anxiety-free blood test*
they're not taking me aside to have a "talk" about my "behavior" nosireeBOB!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"I'm The Only One In Love"

Not sure how long I will carry this torch for you...

Now you're even popping up in my dreams. Leave me be, son!

*smooches...thinking of performing an exorcism on my heart*
and by exorcism I mean have a meaningless fling...with your dad... O__o

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let's Teach Our Sons... to respect women. That no really does mean no even if the woman is 100% naked. And it is definitely no if she's drunk. And that it is always wrong to play grab-ass in a crowded space, on the street or in school. Or anywhere for that matter.

...that there are better ways to release anger than to harm or disrespect others, regardless of how they feel they've been harmed or disrespected. love and care for the children they make, no matter who the child's mother is. Tell them if the woman is not fit to be the mother of their progeny then she's most certainly not worth laying down with, either.

...homosexuality or femininity is not a curse or a disease you can catch. They must learn to respect that all men are different, love different and live different.

...that a well-rounded education will make them an awesome human being. Don't just become a doctor or lawyer or business executive. Study dance and art and nature and "home economics"; to learn as much as they can for the rest of their lives and always be open to new theories while still maintaining a foundation of beliefs.

If I had a son, I'd make sure he knew all of that.

And how to get the hell out of the way when their woman is pissed off!

*smooches...hoping that all of you with sons are on the job*
these are the boys that will be courting my daughters, after all. I need these boys to be worthy of my jewels...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wherein I Realize White America Still Thinks Of Us As Dumb Ni**ers

This post used to be a rant about an article I read online where a middle-aged, middle-class, privileged white man gave his opinion of what poor, black kids need to do to succeed in life. And it used to be filled with F-bombs and threats and posturing because his asinine solutions included the use of technology (which many poor families don't have access to) and public libraries (that are suffering budget cuts left and right) and Cliff's Notes. I kid you not. I was angry that he had the audacity to think that poor black kids could have been saved this whole time if they just went to the library and learned some programming software. That's all they need to get out of the ghetto, according to this "journalist".

So this post used to be my knee-jerk and infuriated reaction to his ignorance to the real plight of poor kids everywhere- not just black kids but especially black kids.

Sir, have you ever lived in the ghetto? Where fathers are scarce but drug dealers are plentiful and take their place? Where mom's have to borrow from Peter to pay Paul, and still it's not enough so she has to work long hours for low pay? Where bologna sandwiches or cans of no frills "pork food" are dinner? Where the parents are sometimes less educated than the kids? Where kids are unattended after school and often have the responsibilities at home that should be carried out by an adult? Where resources don't seem to reach?

The reality is no amount of computer classes can overcome hunger or fatigue or depression or a low self-esteem. When everything around you is bleak and dream-crushing all you can think about is getting out by any means necessary. Sometimes that means illegal activities. A lucky few may find a mentor at school. Others may chance it and persevere despite their environment. But sir, have you ever known that kind of desperation? That feeling that you had to get out or you'd die? Have you ever had that fight or flight instinct kick in on your way to buy milk at the bodega around the corner?

Sir, you don't know the ghetto. You don't know the plight of the poor, be they black, white, Latino, Asian or whatever. You don't know how they eat, breathe and dream their surroundings, and how that affects everything they do. Cliff's Notes won't change the fact that some poor kid in the ghetto didn't get enough sleep because there was a shoot-out on his block, or that he didn't get any breakfast at home because there simply wasn't any food to make. And sir, chances are, if some of the neighborhood kids saw him reading Cliff's Notes, they'd probably steal his book bag and toss it somewhere. Just for kicks.

This is the ghetto. This is why a lot of kids don't make it out and succeed. I'm not making excuses, sir, I'm stating the facts of the neighborhood I grew up in. I was lucky. I made it out by the skin of my nose. My mom was the rare mom that went the extra mile to get us into private schools and summer programs and kept us out off the block. But not everyone is my mom. Some mom's take up with abusive men or are hooked on that shit or just plumb don't give a rat's ass about their kids.

You can't just sit there from your ivory tower and claim to know what a poor black kid needs to succeed in life, sir, because you're not one. And you'll never know what it feels like to be born with so many strikes against you that any effort seems futile.

Don't presume to know what poor black kids needs, sir, and then proceed to write a bullshit article about it because when it comes down to it all ANY poor kid needs is for people like you and me to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. So what's it gonna be?

*smooches...saddened by the blatant racism that sparked that article*
I'm trying to decide if I prefer my klansmen covert or in my face...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Where I Get It From

My great-grandmother, Ramona Ortiz, was one baaaaaaad bitch. And I say this with the utmost respect and love.

She was the only woman I knew who smoked an old wooden pipe. I loved getting her tobacco for her, and usually waited around for her to light up so I could inhale the sweet smell it emitted. She used to torture the mice that got caught on the traps around the apartment, cursing them out in Spanish before setting them on fire, scalding them with boiling water or flushing them to eternity.

Back in the day, she carried a weapon on the road to protect herself as the sole provider of her kids. Her husband? Well, he was shown the door via a hot-brick attack after physically abusing her. Yes, hot bricks. How genius is that? But the best bit of history I just got about my beloved Nenena (as we kids called her) is that she went toe-to-toe with my Abuelo's family because they tried to kill my mom when she was a baby. And Nenena held on to this grudge well into her last years- when Abuelo's new wife's mother dared greet Nenena at a party she uttered something to the effect of "Is this bitch crazy? Did she forget I almost took a machete to her neck in DR?"

This woman was four-foot-nothing, ornery, constantly scowling and always judging from her little chair in the kitchen and now I know why. There's always a back story, you know? Especially in a family like mine with a forest of trees of branches of relatives. She was just upholding our family honor. She was just protecting us the only way she knew how.

She's one of the reasons that, of all the clans that contributed to my DNA, I rep the Ortiz women the hardest. My great-grandmother, Ramona Ortiz, was one baaaaaaad bitch, y'all. I can only hope I'm half the woman she was!

*smooches...with love and pride and in remembrance*
I really need to stop with all these bullshit fiction stories and write the tome of my family. That book would FLY off the shelves!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Body Image: A Healthy Jaded Update

I have to confess something here: when I look in the mirror, despite the strives I've made to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle, I do not like what I see. Not in the facial area because I'm way beyond comfortable with my looks (well, if we're being honest, I wish my lashes were longer and that I'd taken precautions to avoid the dark shadows around my eyes but it's not anything a little creative makeup-ing can't fix!) but rather with everything going on from the neck down.

And before you get all, "This girl is crazy! She looks great!" let me just vent this out, okay?

This is me, right now:

First of all, if I didn't have this uber-strong Under Armor sports bra on my breasts would be resting slightly above my belly button. Sorry to burst the bubble for some of my male readers but the fact is nursing two babies + gravity have officially won the Battle of the Boobs and I can't even think about dreaming about going braless. Ever. Unless I was cast as an extra in a National Geographic photo shoot of indigenous women of the Caribbean. In every photo where you look at me and think "GODDAMN THAT'S A NICE RACK!" I assure you- I'm wearing all manner of padding and industrial straps to help set those puppies right.

The mid-section is...depressing. Flabby, annoying and trying to claim squatter's rights 'pon my body. I know it's my fault- I eat well & work out for about two or three weeks and then fall off for about four weeks. During those four weeks there's not a Halal food cart or bag of Fritos that's safe from my gullet. And classes? PFFT! I cancel them left and right. And sleep? What's sleep? So yeah, the belly won't leave.

And I used to have amazing legs. Long and lean and fabulous. Now my thighs rub together when I walk. STILL. Even after all the weight I lost these bitches cling to each other as if separation will kill them. It's annoying to hear that "swoosh-swoosh" of denim friction when I walk. I can't be a stealth, machete-wielding ninja warrior if you can hear me SWOOSH-SWOOSH-ing all up and through the night.

Basically, I still see myself as 200lbs. I'm not sure what it will take for me to realize I'm not a size 16 anymore but I'm working on it. I'm trying to have more "loving this body" days than "order tapeworms from Cambodia" days and am only about 60 percent able to achieve it. I'm sitting here writing all this KNOWING it doesn't make sense. I look fine. I can get away with this size right here if I wanted to because I'm tall and have great undergarments that camouflage me very well. But is it asking too much to live a Spanx-free life? I don't think so.

Me and my mirror are not friends. Me and this body are about to have a falling out. I hate everyone and everything. Oh, and it's PMS Week. WHERE ARE MY BUFFALO WINGS?!

*smooches...unhappy (fat!) and pouty and frustrated*
now please excuse me while I go drown my sorrows in some fried cheese...

Friday, December 09, 2011

End The Week On A High

I've decided to stop carrying around my passport and get a NYS ID.

I'm about to take my first vacation in a very long time.

N is doing so much better in school after that initial spanking back in October.

My mom turned 58 on Wednesday, and on Saturday we shall celebrate with a ZUMBATHON in NJ.

I'm contemplating hosting another reading in January.

These are the things I shall focus on in the face of some ugliness that's trying to ruin my good mood. Also, these random musical faves that keep my chin up and toes a-tappin':

*smooches...wishing you all a very good weekend*
hopefully I'll have a good one, too

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I Refuse To Apologize!

Man oh man! The internet is at it again, starting trouble among the masses. This time via an article written by a black woman apologizing to black men for a myriad of supposed infractions, including opening up her womb to "the enemy" and allowing her degrees to make her feel superior.

First of all, I won't link it here because I'd rather not be associated with what she wrote because I, sirs & madams, am NOT SORRY.

Second of all, get all the way the fuck out of my universe with that subservient patriarchal BULL.

Because let me tell you something: I will not be sorry for my advanced degrees and subsequent feelings of superiority over someone who does not have them. I worked for that. I paid for that. Hell, I'm STILL paying for that! I put in the time, the effort, expanded my mind, immersed myself in an intellectual awakening and I'll be damned if that doesn't make me better than someone who pissed his life away doing nothing in his mom's basement.

I will not be sorry for dating outside my race (on the rare occasions that I did that) because if a guy is good looking and nice and sexy and funny and intrigues me? Well guess what? I'm going to date him.

I will not be sorry for not needing a man in my life to be successful and happy and all that. The bottom line is no woman NEEDS a man. She may want one to complement her; someone with whom to share her life and grow old, to bring forth new life, and that's cool. In fact, that's beautiful! But she certainly doesn't NEED him.

And I won't apologize if black men feel emasculated by black women because we earn more or can support ourselves or are buying our own homes or whatever. Frankly, that's a YOU problem, not a ME problem. And if you're expecting THIS Afro-Latina to jump on that "sorry" bandwagon FOR. GET. IT.

Jaded AIN'T sorry; she's awesome!

*smooches...waving my degrees in the air like I just don't care*
it's bull like that letter that sets us all back *smh*

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rumor Has It Winter's A-Coming

Don't be fooled by this mild weather, son. I just know the horribleness is right around the corner. The brick-ass wind. The unbearable snow. Sleet. BLAH.

So it's time to stock up on the only survival material I need...books. Here's what's on my reading queue this season:

  • Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans
  • Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso
  • The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
  • I, Judas by James Reich
  • The Mother Who Stayed by Laura Furman
  • The Myth of Laziness by Dr. Mel Levine
  • The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation by Mark Sisson
  • The Red of His Shadow by Mayra Montero
  • The Time In Between by Maria DueƱas
  • Vida by Patricia Engel

What's on your nightstand?

*smooches...devouring what I can while I hibernate*
we all know come spring the last thing I want to do is sit around at home!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Commuter Struggles

Most days I'm okay with not knowing how to drive. It's really just not a priority in my life. I live in NYC where sidewalks abound and everything I could want is within a walk's reach- food, clothes, more food, hardware supplies, housewares and food.

 But on that rare occasion I do understand why people have cars.

Like on Sunday when I was two minutes late for the 113N Bus to NJ even though I ran through the 42nd Street station and through Port Authority and up the stairs and bought my ticket in record time and shoved some people on the escalator; that bloody driver took off without me even though HE SAW ME and I banged on the side of the bus and yelled "WAAAIIIITTTTTT!" All thanks to work being done on the F/G line that caused my usual 40-minute subway ride into Port Authority to take 55 minutes. BLERG!

Or on Monday when I took the R-train towards Coney Island instead of towards Manhattan while carrying 12lbs of ground turkey and 6lbs of other various supermarket items. Let me explain it to you non-NYers: The R-train towards Coney Island connects to the F at 9th Street/4th Avenue, where you have to climb stairs all the way to JUPITER to reach the elevated F-train platform. But, if you take the R towards Manhattan, you can disembark at MetroTech and take a nice, comfy escalator ride to the F-train at Jay Street. Last night, as an added bonus, I had to climb ANOTHER story to reach my platform because of construction. With 12lbs of ground turkey and 6lbs of other various supermarket items.

I'd venture to say that was my workout for the day. I just wish I had known that before I took that 25-minute walk during lunch. I could have been sitting on my ass all afternoon!

*smooches...trying not to hold a grudge against NYC*
I'll just be better prepared next time is all. in other news, can someone rub my back? *pouty eyes*

Monday, December 05, 2011

Musical Interlude: 12.5.11

I'm still trying to work on this creative dispute with myself (finding a new muse, getting words on paper, etc) so I don't have the blog on my brain. Instead I'm digging through the music crates, skimming through old books, watching old movies, looking for that lightening bolt of inspiration. Shout out to Spotify, Netflix and the Brooklyn Public Library for helping me with this project.

While you wait for me to get right, enjoy the tunes!

*smooches...feeding my soul as best I know how*
that paula cole song, dawg...that's my shit. real thugs listen to paula cole. you heard it here first!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Jaded Photographs: December 2011 Edition


*smooches...with some great new memories*
JESUS is that what I look like when I've been drinking? NEVER AGAIN, SON!

Friday, December 02, 2011

It's Not NYC, It's You.

When I was younger, my cousin Minnie had caught an attitude with someone who had talked smack about my mom, which I found odd because Minnie and Mami were nowhere near being BFFs. But she said to me, "It's one thing if I talk about her because she's my aunt, but I'm not going to let some outsider say shit about my family."

That's how I feel whenever I hear derogatory or inflammatory comments about New York City.

Everyone feels a certain connection with their hometown whether or not they had a good childhood. I can understand if someone grew up in Key West, for example, moving to NYC can be a shocker (winter, questionable beaches, high stress environments) and that person will start lamenting having to wear shoes instead of flip-flops all day, or our high cost of living or the fast pace of the City. I get that.

HOWEVER... There is nothing wrong with this City. New York is New York. It has always been this place that never sleeps and every other thing you've ever heard about it. Midtown traffic is always crazy. Rats ABOUND in the streets and subways. It IS a concrete jungle with less green and more gray than many have ever seen. You might get stabbed to death while jogging in the park. So don't move here and then talk shit about it because you should have known this coming in. And frankly, we're dirty, congested, stacked on top of each other, squished into meager-yet-expensive living quarters and consistently stuck in traffic because a gazillion people keep moving here!

Manhattan is but five miles long- how else did you think we were gonna fit all you out-of-towners longing to make it in the bright lights of the big city? And the outer-boroughs are quickly filling up, too. Don't suck up all of our resources and then shit on the very place that provides for you, son! That is not acceptable.

I've lived in other places that are very un-New York-ish, and I get that it's hard to live in the unfamiliar. The first time I saw the farm country backwoods of Pottersville, New Jersey, and realized I had to call that place home because of family obligations, I cried real tears every night for a week. But after that I sucked it up, made the best of it (friends with cars are AWESOME!) and plotted my eventual escape.

Realize that you made a conscious choice to set up shop in one of the greatest cities in the world. YES, THE WORLD. No one forced you to come into my backyard and mooch off all the barbecue, so I'll thank ya kindly to either love it or leave it alone. Amen & God Bless.

* NYC a great big booty grope*
that means I love you!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

"...So Much Depends On The Weather..."

In trying to change up the types of books I read, I picked up Scott Weiland's autobiography from the library. Y'all know Weiland, right? Frontman for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver? Anyway, I grabbed his book, "Not Dead & Not For Sale" hoping to get some clarity on what went wrong with him and Velvet Revolver- a band I was totally in love with- that would make him walk away.

At first I was only interested in reading the sections that discussed VR, but I kind of dug the spazzy way in which the book was written so I started from the beginning. What a life he's led so far! And you know when someone is described as having an artistic soul? Yeah, they're absolutely describing Weiland. Reading his thoughts on the different happenings of his life, and the people who came and went, is mesmerizing.

When I got to the point where Weiland describes his and Dean DeLeo's acoustic performance of "Plush" on MTV's "Headbanger's Ball" I immediately googled the clip because I remembered seeing that when it first ran and absolutely falling in love with this band. Weiland's voice was so powerful and DeLeo's playing was so soothing- it was everything "Headbanger's Ball" was not and that made the performance stand out to me.

Googling that clip obviously made me play other STP songs, and that led to Pearl Jam songs, then Nirvana, then the Cranberries, until I had worked myself into a dark cloud of artistic yearning. You creatives know the feeling- when there's something in you that wants out but your current situation or environment won't allow its freedom.

See, most of the writing I've completed to date was written during my darkest hours, with Weiland and his grunge cohorts as my soundtrack. I suffered from Teen Angst well into my 20s. And I would spend so many hours listening to this music as I poured out my sorrows on paper. From that was born many a troubled character and I loved it.

But now I'm not as deeply depressed. I actually like myself a little bit and there's a lot more sunshine in my life. The downside of all that, of course, is that the dark cloud was always my muse. The dank, rainy days helped me create and the downward spirals gifted me page upon page of beautiful words. Today, with all my happiness and natural highs, I can't seem to find the key that will unlock an avalanche of literature from my mind.

So like the artist that fears a sober life will affect his craft, I don't know how to feel good and write great stories. I play those old songs and I long for the level of creativity I used to have, regardless of how immature and soul-stealing it was. These great days have not created any new characters and won't let me expound on the old ones. I cannot find a new muse.

I'm hoping that by the time I finish Weiland's tome, he'll have some answers for me.

*smooches...stuck in the middle of what was and what could be*
if this keeps up, I'm taking up drinking, sex & hot wings again AND YOU CAN'T STOP ME!